Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Booze 101

Tuesday Tip: Booze 101 🍸

I never tell clients to give up booze, life would be miserable without that if it’s one of your go to ‘treats’ – I do however suggest it could be one way to ‘easily’ cut calories by reducing the amount they consume. Mainly because it’s a discreet, easily identifiable thing to reduce, but also because alcohol can affect weight loss in other ways.

Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram (vs 4 cals for carbs and protein,and 9 for fat). More alcohol means more calories. So alcohol by volume, or ABV, is a good guide for how calorific your drink is relative to others. Drinks that are sweeter will also generally pack more calories (and remember mixers too!).

Unlike food, alcohol contains little to no nutritional value. Alcohol calories don’t fill you up like food calories do, or provide many micronutrients. This isn’t an issue in a balanced diet but just worth remembering when prioritising what you choose to consume.

Alcohol calories are processed differently too. Alcohol is a toxin so the cals are used immediately to generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to detoxify it. This detoxification is a labour intensive process so the liver ‘shuts down’ and stops processing fat, carbohydrates and protein because it needs to deal with alcohol. Hence why you get the munchies, because the detoxification of alcohol inhibits gluconeogensis (breaking down of our internal food stores). So not only does alcohol inhibit fat burning it also encourages over eating. The lack of inhibitions associated with alcohol also make it more likely you’ll ‘stuff the diet’ and eat more than you intended; so it’s a triple whammy!

In addition many alcoholic drinks aren’t labelled with calories and they can vary widely so it’s almost always an estimate e.g a can of beer ranges from 100 – 320 cals. If you’re consuming a lot it could impact on whether you manage to maintain a calorie deficit.

Tips to help:

  • Alternate drinks with water.
  • Use small glasses to make it easier to keep track.
    Swap to spirits with low or zero cal mixers or a dry white wine/ rose etc
  • Eat first to keep hunger at bay and make you less likely to overeat later.

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Reasons you think you can’t lose weight…

Reasons you think you can’t lose weight.. 🤔

We are all used to reading or hearing about reasons why we can’t lose weight/ fat. Commonly people will blame the fact that they’re eating too many carbs, or that they need to cut out sugar. Sometimes the blame is laid at fat in the diet and that’s what supposedly needs to be cut out. Perhaps it’s those ‘toxins’ in your diet?

As well as food groups we like to blame things like our hormones (particularly towards and after the menopause), or perhaps it’s the fault of a slow metabolism or lack of exercise? You’ll also hear people blaming the fact that they eat too late at night.. or even that they don’t eat enough (and are therefore storing fat).

The reality is the only reason you aren’t losing weight is because you’re eating a calorie surplus. It is physiologically impossible to gain weight without a calorie surplus so if you’re putting fat on then I’m afraid you are eating more than you need.

Now that’s not to say these things don’t have an impact. Whilst individual food groups don’t inherently cause you to gain or not lose weight, some foods will affect your ability to stick to you calories. It is far easier to overeat if you’re having lots of fat and carb heavy foods – by which I mean things like cakes, biscuits, pizza etc etc. Despite what people tell you we don’t need to detox to lose weight – our kidneys and livers do that just fine! The only thing we consume regularly which is a genuine toxin is alcohol but even that is fine if you’re accounting for the calories.

Hormones and your natural resting metabolic rate (and how it changes as you age) will have an impact too. They affect the amount of calories you need to maintain your weight – so all that means is you have to adjust your goal down a bit to lose. The time of day you eat has zero impact except in terms of your own behaviour and likelihood to over or under eat. And no, you definitely aren’t eating too little – if you were you’d be losing weight!

No matter what the underlying cause, a calorie surplus is always the reason for lack of weight loss.



Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Attentive Eating

Tuesday Tip: Attentive Eating 😋

Although calories are the overall determinant of weight loss/gain there are many factors which influence how likely you are to stick to your calories. One such issue is distracted eating. Distracted eating is becoming increasingly common due to today’s increasing reliance on electronic devices etc. Attentive eating is essentially removing distractions whilst eating, and monitoring the true amount of food being consumed. This allows you to more accurately remember how much you’ve already eaten which can help reduce over eating for the rest of the day. It helps you to focus on what you actually need food-wise , rather than relying on external cues like plate size, packet size etc.

A recent review of 10 studies showed a significant increase in the amount of food consumed when distracted e.g. by TV, mobile phones etc. I’m sure we’re all aware of times when we’ve been focused on our phones or the TV and not even noticed the plate of food we’ve just inhaled! The studies also showed that there was also an impact on meals later in the day. So those who were distracted would then go on to eat more in subsequent meals. This is related to the working memory of what you’ve eaten. If you’re distracted then the memory of what you’ve eaten is distorted (you remember eating less than you did which results in eating more later). A simple study tested this by asking participants to recall what they’d eaten in their last meal before eating an afternoon snack. Recalling previous meals led to participants eating less, compared to those that recalled non-food related memories.

So what does this mean for us? Distraction definitely increases the amount of food consumed both at that time, and later on in the day, and impacts on your memory of what you’ve already eaten that day. So removing visual distractions and eating attentively will help reduce the chance of over eating. Actively considering what you’ve already eaten that day before you eat the next snack/meal also helps. In terms of the practicalities of doing this this is yet another reason why tracking your food can really help you to stick to your calorie goal.

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Reasons to lose weight… and why I talk about calories so much…

Reasons to lose weight… and why I talk about calories so much… 🍔

Many of my posts talk about calories, tracking and fat loss , so you could be forgiven for thinking that my main goal for myself and clients is weight or fat loss. It’s true that for a large proportion of my

Clients fat loss is a goal, but it’s not everyone’s goal. I have clients for whom building strength, increasing fitness, improving mental health and well being etc are their goals.

Knowledge is power and whatever your goal is it is important to be aware of the caloric values in various foods. For many that could involve tracking calories , as it’s almost always the most successful method of long term, sustainable fat loss. But the beauty of tracking is that you don’t have to do it forever because by the very act of tracking you become aware of the calories in foods and can then adjust your diet, should you want to. And that’s what it comes down to. Do you WANT to lose weight/fat? If the answer is yes then the knowledge of calorie content will help that.

However, it’s worth considering what your reasons are for wanting to losing fat. If it’s because someone’s told you to, or commented on your body shape, or because you think you need to because ‘everyone’ is a size X then consider whether they’re really important enough reasons? If losing weight becomes so all consuming that you can’t possibly maintain the weight without being super restrictive with your food, or cutting food groups, if you’re irritable and miserable all the time, if you’re skipping social events, if you’re female and your periods have stopped, then maybe, just maybe losing more isn’t such a good idea?

Medical conditions aside, at the end of the day, YOU need to weigh up the pros and cons. Does the pursuit of weight loss outweigh the pleasure you get from food? Does being a size X make you happy enough to overcome the necessary restrictions in calories?

How can you do any of this without knowledge of calories? So please remember that, whilst my posts often focus on calories, knowledge is the main goal of these posts – not a never ending pursuit of fat loss at all costs.



Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Protein isn’t magic

Tuesday Tip: Protein isn’t magic 🔮

I talked about carbs last week – the devil food 😉 so now I thought I’d touch on the supposed super star – protein. Eat more protein and you’ll lose weight – right? That’s the rhetoric out there isn’t it? Well I’m sorry but protein isn’t magic – I wish it was, but it just isn’t!

The idea that eating more protein will magically alter the laws of thermodynamics and make you lose weight regardless of how much you eat is just silly. There is a basic law of physics at play here – to lower fat content of the body (i.e. to lose weight), you have to reduce the calories consumed, or increase the calories burned – where these calories come from makes no actual difference. In fact it’s been clearly disproved in many studies. In one study from Columbia University they fed participants liquid meals of fixed calories, some with vastly more protein, some with more carbs, some with more fat – but all contained the exact calories required for the participants to maintain their weight. Guess what – they all maintained their weight… even those eating more protein…

Now that’s not to say protein isn’t super important and a useful factor to consider though. There’s no denying that higher protein foods tend to keep you fuller and more satisfied for longer (especially when combined with fats), and as I’ve mentioned before there is a small increase in the calories used to digest protein (very small and not enough to really influence overall weight loss), it’s also full of vital amino acids for muscle repair and building. If you’re a body builder and looking to put on large quantities of muscle in a short time then yes def prioritise protein (but you’ll be over eating anyway as your goal is muscle gain… not weight loss). If you struggle to stick to your calories because you’re always hungry then yes definitely consider upping your protein and fats a bit in your meals – but not at the complete sacrifice of carbs (otherwise you will crash and burn).

So there it is – yes protein is great, but no it isn’t magic! So no need to fret over it too much!

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx